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    New glass line and a high-bay warehouse for Störtebeker

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    The Störtebeker Braumanufaktur has been getting ready to meet the steadily rising demand for its beers: by investing in bottling technology from Krones, a high-bay warehouse from System Logistics and matching IT solutions from Syskron.
    • Jürgen Nordmann, the owner of the Störtebeker Braumanufaktur

    Among German speakers, the name of “Störtebeker” is associated with the notorious pirate Klaus Störtebeker, who as legend has it scavenged the North and Baltic Seas in the 14th century. Even today numerous literary and musical works still recall this sailor’s adventures, but he is now facing some stiff competition from Stralsund. Instead of “Wind in your sails” at sea, the motto now is “Full speed ahead” on the German beer market.

    When in 1991 Jürgen Nordmann took over the Stralsund-based brewery after German reunification, it was brewing its beers mainly for the local market. However, Jürgen Nordmann was fully aware of his brewery’s true potential – and in 2012 decided to go for a complete revamp. This U-turn included not only a new name but likewise a stringent brand concept and an expansion of the existing portfolio. In the meantime, the Störtebeker Braumanufaktur has with its specialty beers made a name for itself throughout Germany. This approach has definitely resonated among German beer aficionados: within just eight years, the Störtebeker Braumanufaktur has increased its production output from 60,000 to a good 300,000 hectolitres and is today selling its beers almost nationwide at food and beverage retailers, and in the north of Germany likewise in the hospitality industry.

    Overall responsibility for filling and logistics

    So as to actually achieve this target, however, Störtebeker had no alternative but to invest in its existing production landscape. In 2016, the company expanded its brewhouse capacities and then decided to increase output levels in the bottling hall as well while simultaneously optimising its logistical processes. For this purpose, Störtebeker purchased a 40,000-square-metre plot right next to its existing headquarters, where the company was able to translate its vision of a greenfield project into shopfloor reality. But for the brewery, with its payroll of just 110 in production and administration, this undertaking was truly a mammoth task. “Therefore, we decided to place the entire new construction work in the hands of two contractors: the first being the company building the hall and the second being Krones assuming overall responsibility for the technology involved,” explains Jürgen Nordmann.

    The contract was signed in July 2017 – and then planning work started straight away. “If you’ve got a chance to implement a greenfield project nowadays, it is important not to ignore crucial drivers like digitalisation and green building,” says Jürgen Nordmann. So Krones’ scope of delivery included not only a new, energy-efficient bottling line rated at 40,000 returnable glass bottles an hour but also a high-bay warehouse providing just under 30,000 pallet slots from System Logistics, plus full-coverage networking of the production operation with solutions from Syskron and Triacos. The existing bottling line, the new one, a kegging line and the high-bay warehouse, plus the empties sorting system and goods dispatch zone, are all interconnected via a floor track system.

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    The new returnable-glass line handles 40,000 containers an hour.

    Ten breweries in one

    The principal task here was to streamline the complex work sequences involved, thus upgrading the production operation’s efficiency: “As I always say, here on our premises we’ve got ten breweries in one because each of our beers is packed in its own product-specific crate,” is how Jürgen Nordmann describes the situation. “That makes for extremely elaborate planning and production processes; hardly any company operating in the returnables sector anywhere in the world is punishing itself like that.” Störtebeker’s beers are offered in the brewery’s product-specific crates as well as in closed sixpacks. So one thing quickly becomes clear: though offering 25 different products (each with two bottle sizes in two different packs) gives consumers a huge multiplicity to choose from, it constitutes an enormously complex situation for the production team.

    It is therefore vital for Störtebeker to keep a close eye on all the inventories involved:  “There’s an incredible hustle and bustle in our courtyard and warehouse. We’ve got to be able to see at a glance the ongoing status of empties, beer and filling capacities, so that we can sensibly plan upcoming production schedules,” explains Jürgen Nordmann. This is why Störtebeker decided to have Syskron’s subsidiary Triacos modify its existing SAP system to suit the new production landscape, and to link it up to various IT solutions from the SitePilot Suite, such as Line Management, Line Diagnostics and Manufacturing Intelligence. The brewery has thus succeeded in harmonising purchase orders, business processes and production planning to optimum effect. Thanks to Edge Device, Störtebeker has also been able to integrate its existing Krones glass line into the overall concept. “For our filling kit, we’ve been relying on Krones’ expertise since 1998. The company’s technology has won us over, and what we also like is that all machines are fitted with a Siemens control system. Even when we were still a smaller player on the market, we were using Siemens and SAP, too, as our ERP system – because right from the start we’ve attached paramount importance to our being able to interlink business processes and our production operation to optimum effect,” says Jürgen Nordmann. ”We had already turned our attention to the subject of Industry 4.0 at quite an early stage and went looking for some suitable partners. With this investment, we have taken another crucial step in that direction, and we hope we’re now in good shape to meet and master the challenges of the future.”

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    Syskron supplied a variety of IT solutions from its SitePilot Suite, including Line Management, Line Diagnostics and Manufacturing Intelligence.

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